January 14: The Watering Hole – SAGE

Few of the whippersnappers alive today realize that the United States had a defense system to deflect an enemy attack. Actually, a system when in place in 1959, was obsolete by the time it was deployed.

Witness the following museum review:

Now witness the hype:


Now remember ICBMs! In 1957, the USSR placed a 186 pound satellite (Sputnik I) on an orbital plane that could approach the US from the south, on its first orbit; all US defenses were facing north!

The two scenes represent a polarity of opinion that continues to this day.

Still, one cannot deny that the advantage of any technical advance can be viewed from two aspects. That of the realist and that of the defense contractor.

On the other hand, the technologies developed in the meantime have enriched all of mankind and offered the United States a technical edge that extended into the start of the 21st century.

Now the US has neutered its space program, which is a gift of the Bush42 administration.

All of this is but 50 years ago. The computational power represented by each SAGE system is about 8% of the average desktop!

What’s next?

This is our daily open thread – How may our past be described in the future? Remember the SDS (Star wars)? Food for thought!

161 thoughts on “January 14: The Watering Hole – SAGE

  1. I’ve grown very weary of being told all my life there’s a monster under your bed and the bogeyman is in the closet by these jokers.
    It’s a sad statement of our situation to know that the MIC was, is, and continues to be a colossal waste of money that could be better spent on infrastructure and education.

  2. An ashtray on a government computer console! Boy have we come a long way since those days. I’m surprised they didn’t have an ice maker and fridge so they could poor themselves a good stiff drink if they saw hundreds of ICBMs flying toward us.

    • More surprising was the lighter socket next to the ashtray! But I suspect the need to keep an eye on the display called for eliminating searching through one’s pockets for matches or a Zippo, or even worse, turning to the person next to you asking for a light!

      • Yeah, but built in??? I can understand if they made space or an indentation to put your ashtray and lighter, but to actually build those things into the console?

        OTOH, 1959 was before the Surgeon General’s report on the dangers of smoking cigarettes (1964?), so they probably still thought that it was either good for you or not at all harmful.

        • Unless you lived through the era, it’s impossible to comprehend how completely cigarette smoking was woven into American society and culture. Cars came with ashtrays long before they came with seatbelts and everyone smoked everywhere (except kids, who had to sneak out back with smokes they’d swiped). It doesn’t surprise me a bit to see a built-in ashtray in anything from that time.

  3. One result of the poor economy has been an increase in the number of people “scrapping” to supplement their income. My sister, for example, collects aluminum cans, crushes them and sells them to local scrap dealers when she has a van full. Even my neighbor (the mouse deliverer) has engaged in collecting and selling scrap prior to receiving his SS disability. The competition for salable scrap has led to illegal activities like stripping vacant houses of any copper or aluminum and outright theft of valuable materials. This has resulted in additional burdens to the businesses that buy scrap as well as businesses that have had valuable things stolen. Now, in Jacksonville, the Republican Sheriff wants the City Council to pass regulations requiring scrap dealers to verify that scrap sellers actually own the stuff they are selling and to maintain those records for 5 years. How ironic that Republican policies that led to our current economic woes now result in a call for more regulations on business by a Republican!

    If Republicans hadn’t trashed the economy people would have jobs and wouldn’t have to steal to make ends meet and, if Republicans hadn’t crippled local governments financially we would probably have more police patrols where needed to prevent the illegal scrapping activity.

    • An unfortunate side effect is a person who may have scrap metals around the garage, but the bother of having to document where they got the stuff, plus being treated as a potential criminal when they go to the scrap yard leads them to say just forget it and toss it into the trash.

    • I read something not long ago about cities having to develop new methods of securing manhole covers so they wouldn’t be stolen for scrap. Manhole covers? Are you kidding? I think I’d be a tad suspicious.

  4. In very early 1961, soon to be former president Eisenhower said:

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    Days later, JFK assumed the presidency and in April, 1961, refused an aggressive war on Cuba. The operation, the CIA’s Operation Mongoose (popularly known as the Bay of Pigs invasion), was clearly tailored to allow US military action against Cuba. JFK basically said no to US military involvement and the operation failed. Next, in 1962, came the Russians and their missiles to Cuba. Again no war, and worse (for the MIC), an agreement with the Russians that the US would never invade Cuba. Then, in October 1963, came a presidential National Security Action Memo (NSAM) that declared intent for a full US pullout from Vietnam by the end of 1965. A month later, JFK was dead in Dallas, shot in the forehead from behind by a single assassin (a “commie”) armed with a cheap Italian carbine capable of firing a bullet able to make a complete U-turn during its traverse. The commie assassin (who even had a Russian wife, in case anyone needed genuine proof of his evilness) was then shot and killed whilst surrounded by literally dozens of police in a Dallas police station, by a nightclub owner who died of cancer in prison shortly before his scheduled trial. And before JFK was in the ground, his successor, LBJ, signed a NSAM which reversed the Vietnam pullout and essentially began an escalation that would lead to nearly 60,000 dead Americans (and immense MIC profits) over the ensuing eight-plus years.

    “Victory” for the MIC was sealed in 1968 when the remaining pair of loud anti-war voices was silenced and removed for good from the national slate. Each was, like JFK in 1963, (allegedly) murdered by a single assassin: in April, Martin Luther King was said to have been shot killed by a ne’er-do-well petty thief who was found, some ten weeks later, passing through London’s Heathrow airport while traveling through Europe on a bogus Canadian passport. Then, two months later in early June, anti-war candidate Robert F. Kennedy was shot and killed in the crowded kitchen of L.A.’s Ambassador Hotel — moments after he’d won the Democratic Presidential Primary in California and thereby assumed the role of frontrunner for the presidency — by a young Palestinian who to this day swears and maintains that he CANNOT remember anything at all of what authorities to this day insist he did.

    The American coup d’etat thus ended successfully on June 6, 1968, a few months short of five years after it began. The MIC was victorious. Or so one could effectively argue.

    Over the near fifty year span of time since those fateful days, America first managed to stop the dreaded falling dominoes in SE Asia and saving Indonesia, the Philippines, and Australia from communist domination by losing a war in Vietnam. Then we saved Grenada from a dozen or so Cuban commie engineers and a few years later we knocked out the evil dictator of Panama. Then we got serious and soon freed Kuwait from takeover by the murderous (former ally) Saddam Hussein of Iraq. Then came a ten year war in Afghanistan the point of which was to kill the leader of al Qaeda, along with a parallel invasion of Iraq, the point of which was to kill Saddam Hussein during the nearly eight years of war there. Now both (former ally) the murderous and evil Saddam Hussein, AND terrorist Osama bin Laden are dead and we are sort of safe as we try to end the war in Afghanistan which no longer seems to have much purpose. Luckily though, today — with enthusiasm for continued war in Afghanistan falling short — a new and horribly dangerous enemy has arisen in Iran, the latest country we should probably invade and fight with for ten or so years, whatever it takes. To. Protect. MIC. Profits.

    One could probably write a book about all that shit.

  5. Oh, the joy of Twitter. (Not really.)

    I’m having two arguments on Twitter – one against someone who thinks all abortions are murder, and one against someone who felt there was absolutely, positively nothing wrong with the US Marines urinating on the corpses of the enemy soldiers they killed.

    The first one I can understand because people feel passionately about it and refuse to allow women any choice in the matter. It started with my comment that men who think women should not be allowed to have an abortion in cases of rape or incest secretly want to rape women and force them to have their children. Just an opinion.

    The second one I can’t understand at all. Only an inhumane asshole would find nothing wrong with the behavior of those Marines, about whom whose courts martial I look forward to reading.

    • There are wingnuts extolling the urination and calling the men heroes. These are coming from national figures. Check out LGF for some disgusting examples.

      Most of the pushback comes from Marines.

          • The assholes of Wingnuttia would be calling for airstrikes on Iran over something like that.

            I don’t know why I continue to be surprised at these idiots’ complete inability to THINK. Even something as simple as thinking about how we’d feel if the Taliban pissed on our dead Marines is beyond their capability.

            When I was a kid, I learned that people hate because it’s easier than loving — and it’s absolutely true. They want to hate, and in the name of their God, they will fucking HATE.

    • In Herman Wouk’s classic War and Remembrance, there’s an embedded story line where a Nazi soldier known as “The Pisser” obviously enjoys urinating on bodies of murdered Jews in mass graves being excavated by live Jews in order that the remains can be incinerated and, in effect, ‘disappeared’ from any possibility of eventual discovery. One of the living Jews takes great offense at the desecration and finally relieves a German soldier of his rifle and kills The Pisser.

      Apparently American Conservatives are not that far removed from German Nazis in philosophy or actions. But then, we sort of knew that, didn’t we.

    • …someone who felt there was absolutely, positively nothing wrong with the US Marines urinating on the corpses of the enemy soldiers they killed.

      “the maltreatment of enemy war dead was a blatant violation of the 1929 Geneva Convention on the sick and wounded, which provided that: After every engagement, the belligerent who remains in possession of the field shall take measures to search for wounded and the dead and to protect them from robbery and ill treatment.”

    • The US has begun to take steps to protect itself in case Israel unilaterally opens up a new World War III. These are not good omens:

      “Tehran crossed at least one of Israel’s “red lines” earlier this month when it announced it had begun enriching uranium at the Fordow underground nuclear facility near the holy city of Qom.

      The planned closing of Israel’s nuclear plant near Dimona this month, which was reported in Israeli media, sounded alarms in Washington, where officials feared it meant Israel was repositioning its own nuclear assets to safeguard them against a potential Iranian counterstrike.

      Despite the close relationship between the U.S. and Israel, U.S. officials have consistently puzzled over Israeli intentions. “It’s hard to know what’s bluster and what’s not with the Israelis,” said a former U.S. official.”


  6. An Evangelical pastor and his wife write a sex manual. A totally gross, overbearing, demeaning (to women), male-centered, TMI, ick fest.

    A quick review of Driscoll’s greatest hits: Stay-at-home dads are “worse than unbelievers.” James Cameron’s Avatar is “the most demonic, satanic film” he’s ever seen. A wife should keep herself “sexually available” to her husband and, if she believes the Bible, better be giving him frequent blowjobs. “Effeminate” church musicians should be mocked on Facebook. Abstaining from alcohol can be a “sin.” The church has turned Jesus into a “a Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ,” when he’s actually a “prize fighter” who is “coming back looking for blood.” The Bible says women can’t have leadership positions in church because they’re “more gullible and easier to deceive than men.” Male masturbation is a “form of homosexuality” if there’s not a woman present.

    • pRick’s depth of knowledge reminds me of something a Mississippi hick said to a former aerospace colleague who was once a medical microbiologist at Biloxi AFB. He had just diagnosed gonorrhea in the lad for the third time. The response: “Hmmmh. Seems lahk ever tahm Ah fucks Marie Ah gits the clap.”

  7. Perkins: Evangelicals Chose Santorum

    The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins announced that evangelical conservatives who met in Texas recently endorsed Rick Santorum, CNN’s Sam Feist reports.

    Perkins said there was “strong consensus” in the room for Santorum, according to Dave Weigel. Perkins said Santorum got support from over two-thirds of the 150 conservative leaders present, according to Felicia Sonmez.

    “It’s not news that there’s not strong support among conservatives for Mitt Romney,” Perkins said, according to Sonmez.

    Well done, fundygelicals.

    *evil laugh*

    • Oh, well, then that’s solved. Gingrich will now drop out of the race and endorse Santorum. So will the other guys (who is that again?),

      Romney’s money will be worthless, Santorum will be the nominee and we will be living in a happy white theocracy by 2013 after he crushes Yobama in the general election. Yay!

  8. Here in Minnesota they are trying to tighten the checks on scrapping cars. Where, in the old days, thieves would strip stolen cars for parts now they just push, pull, or drag them to the crusher at around $300.00 a pop. Old rust buckets are actually being stolen at a faster rate than cars that have resale value in parts or as a whole.

  9. This is some sub-par hate, but I’m posting it anyway jut so I’ll feel useful:
    Hate Mail

    I’ve enjoyed the scrap metal bonanza. I had junk, son lost job, my junk kept his family going for a while.

    • Glad you’re up to posting!

      The hate mail is getting weaker – except the Paul defenders who are waaaay out there can be entertaining in a scary way!

  10. Balloon Juice reports:

    29 December 2011: Adelaide Zoo’s much loved lyrebird Chook, known for his stunning vocal ability, has died at the age of 32.

  11. There are several things that are disappointing about TP these days, but two things gripe my ass the most:

    1) The old community is gone — murdered with malice aforethought.

    2) The most inane snarky crap gets “likes” out the wazoo, while valuable insight is sometimes completely ignored. Exh A: I currently have a rude comment on TP that has 130+ ‘likes’ (I keep getting notifications on FB), that would have had members of the old TP community calling me out for being a putz.

  12. I agree with HoR and Wayne. There is no flow and connection between commentators. No sense of timely dialog or debate. TPM is a little better, but when i click on the show more comments button 1/2 the time nothing comes up.

      • Another Tweeter and myself are trying to tell him that it’s the woman’s body so it’s her choice, but he keeps saying “It’s the woman’s and the child’s body.” At one point he tried to say that people want the right to abort for up to the age of two. It was really hard to take him seriously after that, but he seemed to be.

        • I’m always tempted to tell those bozo that if it really is “the woman’s body and the child’s body,” then flop that fetus on the counter top and let it make its case for personhood. If they manage it, then I’ll support them as people.

          That’s really not constructive, and would probably only succeed in getting the dumbo to dig in even tighter, which is not my goal. Not that I have goals with these people anymore…

    • From TPM

      Before he interviews the GOP candidates (not including Ron Paul, whom he says Fox “repeatedly” invited but to no avail) Mike Huckabee says the reason so many South Carolina voters are undecided is not because the candidates are bad, but because they’re all so good. “Have you ever been really hungry and wandered round a grocery store?” he asks the audience. “You know how everything looks good and it turns out to be really hard to decide. That’s what it’s like with these candidates.”

  13. Romney is actually saying that newly-elected president Obama chose not to seek compromise with Republicans but to ram his agenda through “against the will of the American people.”

    Ok, I may have had enough. Mitt & Truth will never be synonymous.

  14. But wait….

    Romney then says that the Obama administration has imposed price controls on healthcare and “it hasn’t worked” – hence the increase in healthcare costs. Seriously, he’s out of his mind.

    • But the people to whom he;s saying that don’t know any better and will never, ever, ever fact-check him. In fact, if the local newspapers published a debunking of what Romney said, his supporters would dismiss it as “liberal media bias.”

      This is why I fear for the future of my country. You don’t have to know one single goddamn fact to be allowed to participate in choosing our nation’s leaders.

  15. Maybe it’s just me, but Romney made my skin crawl tonight for the first time in one of these events. Watching these clowns lie and pander is too much for me to handle.

    Full attention to football….

  16. I’m very excited! I had a lucky day without leaving the house.

    I don’t know if I ever brought this up but I’m a lifelong model airplane enthusiast. I started flying radio controlled models in 1968. It’s a hobby that I have picked up and set aside many times.

    Since I no longer live out in the boondocks I’ve done little flying in a few years so, when a friend of mine told me he was going to a swap meet, I sent him two of my old planes to see if he could unload them for me and asked him to buy me a few raffle tickets. Long story short, I find myself in possession of a $350.00 gift certificate plus the $200.00 from the sale of my old planes. Woo hoo!.

    The greatest recent advances in the hobby are small, quiet, electric planes that can be flown from a schoolyard or in a gymnasium and there’s an, often vacant, softball field just three blocks away. I’ve only just started the research process but it looks like I can fund at least two really neat planes with my new found windfall. Some days; life is good.

      • I did the helicopter thing for awhile but I like planes better. My truest love is flying gliders around and I even won a few contests back in the dark ages. Now? They make electric sailplanes that outperform the old engine-less ones. I used to shoot them into the air with 100 feet of surgical tubing and 300 feet of fishing line. The electric ones will climb vertically from a hand launch. I figure I can finance a nice sailplane and still get what’s referred to as a 3D aerobatic plane that will do everything that my old noisy ones did in a much smaller package.

        • We had a guy that flew a big glider that he launched with a cable towed behind his car. He would be wrapping up his Sunday morning time as we arrived to set out cones and sweep gravel for the autocross events. There was also a guy who was learning to fly his gyrocopter. He would fly it about ten feet off the runway, (at our old municipal airport) once he felt comfortable to lift off.

          • I have about 25 hours of stick time in full sized gliders out in San Diego. We just had a fixed winch that would get us about 100 feet up and fly the slope lift from the cliffs in La Jolla. I also owned an ultralight for three years but, frankly, I find the sedate flying around less satisfying than all the tumbling around one can do with an RC model. I’ve even owned a few cars that were more challenging than flying most light planes. Heck! I even enjoy computer flight simulators, where one can shoot down other planes, more fun than simply keeping one’s wings level in a plane one can ride in.

            • Oh yeah. I also rode along with a guy who is an accomplished aerobatic pilot. He did very sedate stunts but that was a little too thrilling for me. I find riding in the back while doing aerobatics to be more disconcerting than riding on the back of a motorcycle. If I’m going to do death defying stunts? I think I want ultimate control of whatever vehicle is involved.

    • I built a methanol/castor-oil powered version of the de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito from one of the upscale (Not Comet) kit suppliers. Like those comic book collections of yore, it was lost on a transfer of my nuclear family from NJ to CA. I have often mused on the pleasure denied by its disappearance. I never thought about its relic value, I only miss my teen toy.

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